Isaac Newton’s List Of His 57 Sins

Isaac Newton discovered the laws of gravity, revolutionized optics and co-invented calculus, but as a teenager he saw himself as a sinner.

In 1936, a document of Newton’s dating from around 1662 was sold at a Sotheby's auction and eventually wound up at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, England. The Fitzwilliam Manuscript has long been a source of fascination for Newton scholars. Not only does the notebook feature a series of increasingly difficult mathematical problems but also a cryptic string of letters reading:

Nabed Efyhik

Wfnzo Cpmfke

If you can solve this, there are some people in Cambridge who would like to talk to you.

But what makes the document really interesting is how incredibly personal it is. Newton rattles off a laundry list of sins he committed during his relatively short life

Here's a list of confessions that the pious genius wrote at age 19, and it’s equal parts endearing and disturbing. 

Before Whitsunday 1662

1. Vsing the word (God) openly

2. Eating an apple at Thy house

3. Making a feather while on Thy day

4. Denying that I made it.

5. Making a mousetrap on Thy day

6. Contriving of the chimes on Thy day

7. Squirting water on Thy day

8. Making pies on Sunday night

9. Swimming in a kimnel on Thy day

10. Putting a pin in Iohn Keys hat on Thy day to pick him.

11. Carelessly hearing and committing many sermons

12. Refusing to go to the close at my mothers command.

13. Threatning my father and mother Smith to burne them and the house over them

14. Wishing death and hoping it to some

15. Striking many

16. Having uncleane thoughts words and actions and dreamese.

17. Stealing cherry cobs from Eduard Storer

18. Denying that I did so

19. Denying a crossbow to my mother and grandmother though I knew of it

20. Setting my heart on money learning pleasure more than Thee

21. A relapse

22. A relapse

23. A breaking again of my covenant renued in the Lords Supper.

24. Punching my sister

25. Robbing my mothers box of plums and sugar

26. Calling Dorothy Rose a jade

27. Glutiny in my sickness.

28. Peevishness with my mother.

29. With my sister.

30. Falling out with the servants

31. Divers commissions of alle my duties

32. Idle discourse on Thy day and at other times

33. Not turning nearer to Thee for my affections

34. Not living according to my belief

35. Not loving Thee for Thy self.

36. Not loving Thee for Thy goodness to us

37. Not desiring Thy ordinances

38. Not long {longing} for Thee in {illeg}

39. Fearing man above Thee

40. Vsing unlawful means to bring us out of distresses

41. Caring for worldly things more than God

42. Not craving a blessing from God on our honest endeavors.

43. Missing chapel.

44. Beating Arthur Storer.

45. Peevishness at Master Clarks for a piece of bread and butter.

46. Striving to cheat with a brass halfe crowne.

47. Twisting a cord on Sunday morning

48. Reading the history of the Christian champions on Sunday

Since Whitsunday 1662

49. Glutony

50. Glutony

51. Vsing Wilfords towel to spare my own

52. Negligence at the chapel.

53. Sermons at Saint Marys (4)

54. Lying about a louse

55. Denying my chamberfellow of the knowledge of him that took him for a sot.

56. Neglecting to pray 3

57. Helping Pettit to make his water watch at 12 of the clock on Saturday night

You can read the full document over at the Newton Project.

Take a moment to celebrate some of the amazing achievements from people who had virtually no education at all.

He isn’t the one to let something like being the fourth richest man on the planet stop him from getting a good deal.

There is no Nobel Prize for mathematics, but there are equivalents...